Thursday, December 31, 2015

All Good Things Come to an End

Sadly, our Florida family vacation ended all too quickly. We had one final house day, and then it was time to fly home. Our last day was spent swimming, cleaning, and packing. There was also some more throwing up (Audrey, cousins). We also managed to fit in one last dinner with the sisters and Grammy. Eric was a champ and finished ALL the packing while I partied.

The cousins enjoyed all of their time together. I'm glad they love each other so much. (Thanks Aunt Kate for the pictures!)



Our flights out were all so early. Apparently, you need to get an early start to make it back across the country.

The going home crowd sure looked a lot different than the coming crowd:


We ran into the Sookhoos in the airport and I'm sure made everyone on our flight incredibly nervous that we were all going the same place ;)






Borrowing Kate's calculations..."There were 11 adults, and 16 kids, 4 rental cars, 3 townhouses, 10ish pukers, lots of tic tacs, and even more FUN!"

It was a great trip, and an awesome way to get everyone together before Grammy and Grampy left for their mission to Fiji.

Thanks Grammy and Grampy!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

18 Hours in the Magic Kingdom

Given our first fateful day at the Magic Kingdom, I was determined to get the most out of our second. We had scheduled a 7:30 a.m. breakfast at the Be Our Guest restaurant inside the park. I'd never been to BOG before, so this was one of the things I was most excited for. When you have a restaurant reservation, you are allowed to enter the park 30 minutes early. Presumably to give you time to get there. We used it as time for a ride. Or two.

View of the castle as we boarded the ferry about 6:55 a.m.:


BOG was fun, and definitely something to see and do once. I don't know if I'd kill myself to get back in. Again, we all made separate reservations, but had no trouble getting tables together. It was decorated just like the Beasts' castle, so seeing it was the best part.




This day at the park it was us, the Catmulls (plus Morgan), and the Sookhoos.



Our castle pictures were a total bust.

Somehow the Catmulls made it in to see Anna and Elsa...a prized ticket during this crazy week:



There were also visits with Ariel, Belle, and Buzz:













I think the ride we rode the most, though it'd be close with the Ariel ride, was Buzz Lightyear:





It was a good ride because it wasn't too "baby" or "girly" for anyone (read: Amos). It also wasn't too scary for anyone (read: Amos).

Amos was, not surprisingly, very hesitant about doing any of the roller coasters. The girls loved the Dwarves Mine Train, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain. Amos wasn't up for any of it. We didn't push him, and finally, late in the day he said he thought maybe he could do Splash Mountain. I was so proud of him for working his courage up, but the poor guy was so worried I don't think he enjoyed it one bit. I am so glad he tried though. And I am so glad for this picture:


Maggie put her arm around him to comfort him! He didn't do the ride again, but he conquered the fear once.

The Tomorrowland Speedway was much more Amos' speed, and I rode that one with him again and again. Such a bumpy ride!


Late in the day we had plans to go home for naps, but rumors started to swirl that the park and parking lot were at capacity and if you left you wouldn't be able to get back in. So, we decided to tough it out. We found a quiet little spot for a history lesson:


We also did the Carousel of Progress, People Mover, and Monster's Inc. Laugh floor a good number of times. We had dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern, and again it was another great family style service. Love it.

People moving:


About 11 p.m. the park started to empty and I overhead a dad tell his daughter: "If you can make it to this hour, disney world is your oyster." He was mostly right. It was still busy enough that the lines for the big attractions stayed hours long, but we walked onto most everything else. The Sookhoos had a good stockpile of buddy passes and Audrey, Maggie, and Eric finished the night doing rounds on Space Mountain. Amos wanted to do Pirates of the Caribbean, so I took him across the park and we did laps on that ride with cousin Drew. Maggie decided she wanted to join us (from Space Mountain across the park), and Eric made a mad dash there and back so he could keep doing Space Mountain with Audrey. It was nuts!

11 p.m. faces:


12:30 a.m. faces:



1 a.m. faces:




And then we'd come full circle with the castle looking just like it had when we'd arrived the day before.

It was 2 a.m. by the time we made it home, and to say we were spent would be an understatement. All we had to do was crawl into bed, but then the puking started again. Audrey puked all the way up the stairs to her bed :( While so glad she'd waited until we were home, blech! And we could have chalked it up to our crazy day and all those rides on Space mountain, but I don't think those things are contagious. By the time we were headed home about 80% of the group fell victim to the Ward bug.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Animal Kingdom-All for One and One for All!

After 'Ohana day came Animal Kingdom day. This was a big day because it was the only day all of the families went to a park together.

In our pre-trip planning, Kate and I waffled about whether or not to buy the Memory Maker/Disney Photopass. It is spendy. I finally buckled and just did it (and Kate came with me), and I am so glad. This shot right here is worth every penny. Every. Penny.


All of Rodger and Cindy Shaver's daughters, sons-in-law, and grandkids in one photo. You don't even know how hard it is to get all of these people in one place.

And because it's Disney and they make you do these things, here we are growling:


It was the Animal Kingdom, after all.

The Animal Kingdom is not my favorite park. It's not an all day park, but there are a couple attractions that are just awesome. The animal safari being one and the Lion King show being the other.

We got a great Safari day, and all of the animals were out and active. We even got to see the lions sunning on some rocks.



Now, with the Lion King, we got crazy lucky. I asked the right person where to park our stroller and she hooked us up with the VIP show seating. Front and center. At first, when she asked how many were in our party, I didn't understand what was happening and said 6. Once I figured out what was going on, I changed my answer to 26 and she went with it. There was complete chaos as we rounded up 26 of us from various corners of the park, but everyone got there and we saw a great show. The best part about the prime seating was all of the little cousins got to be in the show. Oh, and Uncle Steve got picked on ;) 







We took further advantage of the photo pass and got more pictures taken:









The Iverson's waterfall picture didn't get captured, and I am still so sad about it. I should have made them all go back. They made the group shot at least.

And of course there was more character dining:





I like Tuskers a lot, we've been before, but it's a buffet. After all of this family style dining I got spoiled!

The other note on the value of the Memory Maker-all of your ride pictures get captured. Worth. Every. Penny.


Thankfully, Animal Kingdom closes early and we headed home to bed. Because the next day will forever be known as so many hours at Disney Day...